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'Why must the poor pay for social grants?' asks DA

SASSA card.
SASSA card.
Image: File Photo

The DA said on Thursday that it was opposed to social grant recipients being charged banking fees to access their payments.

"The DA is concerned about Sassa's revelations in Parliament yesterday that beneficiaries who receive their grants through ATMs will have to pay R10 in bank charges from 1 April 2018‚" DA MP Bridget Masango said in a statement.

"These charges will affect 5.4 million beneficiaries‚ who are among the poorest and vulnerable in our society."

Grindrod Bank announced on Wednesday that as of April 1‚ the South African Security Agency (Sassa) would no longer carry the cost of grant recipients' banking charges. Grindrod provides banking services for Sassa grant recipients‚ paying 17-million grants to 10.6-million cardholders‚ amounting to R11-billion per month.

"These bank charges are due to Sassa not having a contract in place with Grindrod Bank. As a result‚ the Bank will deduct R10 in bank charges in order to maintain its accounts with Sassa‚" Masango said.

"The reality is that for the millions of South Africans who live in poverty‚ a R10 makes a huge difference. It is unfair that the poor have to suffer because of the chronic mismanagement‚ poor planning and instability at Sassa."

Masango repeated calls for a parliamentary inquiry into Sassa.

"The truth is that if Sassa had its house in order the payment of social grants would have run smoothly. Instead‚ we have a situation where there are constant chaos and confusion and a clear lack of decisive leadership‚" she said.

"The chaos at Sassa can only be blamed on former social development minister‚ Bathabile Dlamini‚ who constantly meddled in the affairs of the agency."

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